You’ve heard it here multiple times, but it is worth a yearly reminder: All sacks are not the same. Some can be blamed completely on an offensive lineman. Some can be blamed completely on a quarterback who held the ball way too long. Some are the result of a poor play call or a line call that left a rusher completely unblocked.And a lot are a combination of these factors.Some of those factors are beyond our ability to comprehend. After all, if a receiver runs the wrong route and therefore isn’t where the quarterback knew he was supposed to be, that can lead to a sack. And unless someone on the team mentions it in the postgame, we’re never going to know that he was the reason the quarterback didn’t throw the ball.But there are some things we do know: The longer it takes for a sack to occur, the less the offensive line and pass protection can be blamed. For a 2.5-second sack, it’s most likely that someone blew their block. For a 3.5-second sack, it’s fair to say that the offensive line did their job and the quarterback, the play call, or the receivers are to blame.Again, while it requires some inferences, the timing of sacks tells a lot. For the purposes of Under Pressure, short sacks are any sack that took less than 2.6 seconds. A normal or medium sack is one that takes between 2.6 and 3.1 seconds, and a long sack takes 3.2 seconds or longer.It’s not perfect, but the division between short sacks (34.6 percent of all sacks), medium sacks (32.3 percent) and long sacks (33.2 percent) are close enough to view them as three equal parts.
The story is quite different with Jets quarterback Geno Smith. Smith has been sacked 28 times overall, but only five (17.9 percent) of them are short sacks. Another eight (28.6 percent) are normal sacks and a whopping 15 (53.6 percent) are long sacks. The story is similar with Raiders’ quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor has 22 of the Raiders 30 total sacks, but 59 percent of those are long sacks, while only 13.6 percent of them are short sacks. Both are young athletic quarterbacks who count on their legs to buy additional time to throw.
Short sacks: 6 / 28.6%
Medium sacks: 5 / 23.8%
Long sacks: 10 / 47.6%